This is often times the first question I am asked when a prospective client is interested in my services. So I am here to dispel all rumours and provide some transparency about this industry. Please read on as I dissect a few of your options and provide some insight to a few of the major differences.
Now for starters, I have been a part of the corporate fitness industry with two major players – World Health and GoodLife. And now while I am operating my own successful training business niched towards health and performance of the Canadian music industry and Canadian musicians, I can truly say I have seen almost everything this business can bring. Both as a trainer and from the clients perspective.
So here we go… How much does it really cost you to start on your fitness journey? Here’s the scoop!
First of all, you’ll want some gear. Regardless of which of the options you choose below you may want some athletic clothes like shorts, dri-fit tops, maybe a heart rate monitor or sport watch, some training shoes and/or running shoes at the very least. Are any of these items crucial? No, probably not. You can get away with not having them, but part of the psychological kickstart you get from reinventing yourself is feeling good… And I can tell you that you will feel a lot better in the appropriate training gear. It’s like a new suit for the job or a new summer dress for the beach… Who doesn’t want to feel good?
Now for the options. Below I’m going to go through a brief description, pros/cons and an overall analysis of how beneficial each fitness option is so you can do your due diligence and choose which way you’d like to go.
1. “I’m going to start running”
Cost – low
Effectiveness – depending on goals, somewhat effective. More often than not, not an effective long term fitness plan
Pros – For those of you that venture this way, good on you for taking the initiative. It’s cheap to start running, it can be an effective way to lose a bit of weight or improve your cardiovascular conditioning.
Cons – unfortunately some people see the scale and think of the number drops, awesome! However, being such a catabolic (breakdown of tissue) and impactful form of exercise, running poses a few too many challenges for me to seriously back with good integrity as a viable form of starting off on your fitness journey. As a fitness professional, I have seen that just starting out running greatly increases the risk of injuries. That’s not cool.
Conclusion – probably not the best option unless you are just starting back on as a distance runner. Which you’re probably not, right? Right. Read along.
2. Personal home gym
Cost – expensive, for the most part
Effectiveness – effective, if used correctly
So here’s the thing. Home gyms like bowflex or those all in one machines can be effective to a certain point of used correctly.
Pros – Convenience. Let’s face it, we’re all busy. It’s great to rip it up at home. This can be great. Home gums provide that opportunity.
Cons – Convenience. Yeah, it’s a double-edged blade. It’s often times proven too convenient. I’ve seen this with past clients, trainers and the rest. It’s right there, so we will do it after _________. Problem is, __________ never comes.
Conclusion – unless you’re super self-motivated this can be an expensive piece of furniture. Tread carefully.
3. Personal videos, home workout routines, online/magazine workouts etc…
Cost – inexpensive
Effectiveness – effective-ish
Videos and online resources can be great in the right hands. Overall they’ll generally provide a straightforward, easy to follow path to get you on the right path to your goals.
Pros – generally cheap, convenient, fun and relatively effective for the amount that you pay in comparison to some of the other options. I would recommend menshealth.com or womenshealth.com or any of the yoga or metabolic circuit type videos on the market.
Cons – can be detrimental to your health and promote imbalances and injuries as a result of the program not being individually specialized. Not everyone should be doing back bends or jump squats, but when the creators of these resources put these exercises in their programs and leave it up to the discretion of the individual as to whether or not they’ll complete said exercise, it puts a bit too much responsibility on the individual for my liking. If im going to the doctor, im going to want to know for sure if I’m supposed to take the medicine. Exercise works the same way. I’m a supporter of customizing programs towards individual goals and limitations. Not a one size fits all approach. That’s my biggest challenge.
Conclusion – can be a useful and cost effective way to maintain, spice up or get back into a healthier lifestyle. Just proceed with caution if you start to feel any old injuries, new injuries or have any outlying health concerns. (Before starting any new exercise program consult with your favourite health professional before… Just to be safe)
4. Club memberships
Cost – moderate to very expensive
Effectiveness – if used, can be very effective, especially with assistance of a personal trainer
For years I worked in a health club. I know how effective it can be. I also know the percentage of people that end up making their club memberships a charitable donation. And it’s unfortunately a lot higher than I would like to admit.
Pros – if you get in with a good spot, like World Health or GoodLife Fitness you have access to great equipment, good community and a really good shot at kick starting a healthy lifestyle. Immenities, group fitness classes, personal training. You have a shot.
Cons – as I eluded to earlier, the percentage of folks that actually use their gym or yoga membership is unfortunately quite low. You need to stay motivated. One of the ways to do that is through the (often very expensive and sometimes under qualified) personal training services offered by these corporations. However, if you choose to hire on a personal trainer that’ll run you another $100-$400/month on top of the $50-$100 you pay already for the membership and access to the club. As you can see, it can be quite costly. To add insult to injury, if your choice personal trainer decides to move along (turnover in this industry is quite high) most contracts you will sign state that the club reserves the right to just transfer your sessions to another trainer. And while they make every attempt to make that transition as seemless as possible, it really removes the personal from personal training when you’re shuffled around like the ace of spades amongst the deck. You can’t get out of those kind of contracts, generally speaking. I know. I was often the one telling people that as I was almost always the damage control.
Conclusion – beneficial for most people that need to get a jump on a better lifestyle routine. There’s lots of options, it keeps things fresh and you can hire on professional support. However, this is my biggest challenge with formal clubs and memberships. It can get very expensive to keep yourself fit and it’s not always up to you when you’re tied up with contracts. If your trainer leaves or schedules don’t work or you can’t afford the training… You’re likely going to be donating your monthly fees and have a bitter taste in your mouth about health and wellness.
5. Independent Personal Training
Cost – moderate to very expensive
Effectiveness – with the right trainer, very effective. Wrong trainer, not effective.
What I have experienced since going on my own is that I am free to create my brand, coach and schedule as I see fit. I’m not confined to company policies because I am the company. This helps me serve my clients to the best of my ability and also puts the onus on me to get results.
- Flexibility of choosing the trainer right for you. Nutritionist? Post rehabilitation specialist? Sport performance? There’s a ton of different type of trainers, so you just need to do your research and you will find the right credentials. Then it’s just a matter of personality and relationship. Two very important factors in your desire to get results. Generally speaking, personal training with the right trainer will get you personalized programming and quick results.
- No fees for the gym, generally speaking. Most independent trainers in Canada can operate out of a facility that doesn’t charge for a membership. I know I am one of those trainers. Also, say you want an online coach, or maybe one to come to your home. Those are also options when you consider the independent personal trainers.
Cons – independent training has two routes. You’ll find either the cheapest trainer or the best trainer. In my experience, the statement get what you paid for seriously rings true with the independent training world. Do your due diligence. My prices range anywhere from $400-$800/month depending on frequency, timelines and goals of each individual client. Just so you have an idea of what it costs to take care of your health. As I mentioned above, of your two options- I am not the cheapest trainer.
Conclusion – trying to remain as unbiased as possible, I do truly feel that the options you have with the right independent trainer far offset the costs associated in the long run. Speaking for the services I offer (tailored exercise and nutrition programming, accountability software, flexible payment options, dynamic, challenging and fun workouts etc…) this would be my recommendation for most individuals looking to take care of themselves. I may not be the right trainer for everyone but I can certainly recommend colleagues that would fit with anyone that doesn’t work with my style, schedule or personality. It is just a matter of you taking that first step and reaching out. Hopefully this write up helps you in making your choice.
If you are interested in learning more about the services I offer and what it will cost you to take care of your health, please reach out and request a consultation to see if we are a good match.
In this day and age with sedentary lifestyle, obesity, postural problems, heart disease and other preventable illnesses on the rise the real question should be can you afford not to take care of your health?
You don’t have to be a rock star to start, but you have to start in order to become a rock star.